Refreshing, Exuberant Loire Cabernet Franc under $20

The 2019 offers juicy fruit, crisp texture, and post-tariff pricing

The Loire Valley continues to be the epicenter of natural winemaking in France. We’ve found ourselves opening more and more Loire Valley wines recently, whatever the occasion. Organic viticulture, balanced wines, and affordable prices have all become the default in the Loire, a trend we celebrate enthusiastically.

Winemakers Celine and Didier Sanzay are fifth generation growers in Saumur-Champigny in the central Loire. Their reds are pure Cabernet Franc, and fit modern Loire style — small batch, organic, limited oak, concerned with balance and freshness rather than extraction and muscle. They use all wild yeasts, neither fine nor filter, and produce complex, natural expressions of the charming central Loire.

Their just-arrived 2019 Saumur rouge is the best we’ve had from them — with a post-tariff pricing under $20 it’s a no brainer for a crunchy house red.

This is exactly what you want Loire Cab Franc to be: pure, joyful, unoaked, and refreshing. Clean, juicy fruit bursts from the glass on the nose — think wild cherries and graphite. The mouth is fresh, fruit forward, inky, and intense, with a bold and vibrant attack and a quick clean finish. Think a juicy Beaujolais with more serious texture and darker fruit.

We think it far outperforms its modest pricetag, and offers a great alternative to your everyday, catch-all Rhône red. Pair with crackers and goat cheese, coq a vin, or a fresh pizza.


Sanzay Saumur-Champigny 2019
bottle price: $19

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